Against the wall, “Team Toba” stood tall when it mattered most, on Thursday.
Being tied with Team Wisconsin in the same pool, Manitoba battled it out with them, as a win confirms a chance for a “better” matchup moving forward in the tournament.
And they did just that, as Manitoba took the game in three sets by scores of 23-25, 25-13 and 15-7.
Manitoba’s Gabrielle Wishart was ecstatic, pointing to some of her teammates as key to the victory.
“I think Madison (Hayden) and Hanna (Cochrane) played really well. Our Libero Karon (Weenusk) played really well and Kylee (Sinclair) set really well,” said the two-time North American Indigenous Games participant as she stood outside the Taig McKenzie Centre, on York University’s campus.
U19 volleyball head coach Jayme Menzies took a more in-depth approach on their victory today.
“Well for one, I think the relationships that the girls have with each other go a long way. They’ve known each other for quite some time through indigenous volleyball,” said the former University of Winnipeg Wesmen volleyball player.
“The thing is that we have a few key athletes that can raise their game. We haven’t seen all those athletes rise to the occasion at the same time at this tournament.
“This game was the first time that all of them were clicking. They were all playing the game that we needed them to play.”
Manitoba had the momentum on their side moving into the tiebreaker match.
The score was 8-5 as they led before the teams switched sides. But they managed to pulled away, as they went on a 7-2 run to close out the game with a 15-7 victory and win in three sets.
Besides slowing down momentum, coaches often resort to timeouts to motivate their team to play.
After explaining that Wishart was a common surname in Manitoba, the two-time North American indigenous Games participant said that the athletes are responsible for motivating themselves in timeouts.
Menzies said that there are rarely changes in terms of how they scheme during these breaks in the game.
“I’m not much of a motivational coach,” she said. “I think if you’re able to step into our team’s timeouts at any given time, whether we’re losing, winning or a tight game. I would hope that they sound pretty consistent.
“I think there’s a lot of tactical talk and a lot of encouragement. Our timeouts are pretty consistent no matter what point of the game we’re at.”
And this held true, as Manitoba cruised through their second set with a 25-13 victory, following Wisconsin’s opening set 25-23 win.